Spicy Bourbon Bundt Cake
Growing up on Long Island in the 70's, Entenmanns bakery was king. Their factory outlet, a short drive from where I grew up, was a weekly visit for my mother and her three girls in tow. My sisters and I all piled into the back seat of my Mom's Chevy Impala strategizing on how to convince her to buy our favorites. Inevitably, we would leave with a stack of cakes, cookies and pastries ready for weekend company and late night snacks. My sister Lisa was partial to chocolate chip crumb and still enjoys their chocolate chip cookies with her daughters. My sister Ellen, liked the vanilla cake with the fudge icing. She would pull back the rich frosting and save it for last. Smart girl. I still remember their spiced chocolate cake. Fudgy chocolate frosting and cinnamon spiced dark chocolate cake with chewy raisins. The spicy, warm aroma as the box was opened, is one of my strongest food memories. Much to my dismay, the cake was discontinued a long time ago. I still check out the Entenmanns display whenever I'm at the market, wistful and hoping against all odds, they resurrect the cake...just for me. So then, what is a nostalgic foodie to do? I recreated that memory and gave it an adult spin. I glazed it with a classic ganache and added bourbon because, well, why not?
This is a rich cake...a small piece goes along way.
Ingredients for the cake:
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more for pan
9 tablespoons cake flour, plus more for pan
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups finely ground blanched almonds
1 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon sea salt
Ingredients for the ganache:
8 oz. best quality dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
To make the cake:
• Combine raisins and bourbon in a small bowl. Cover and let sit, at room temperature, for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
• Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 8 cup bundt pan and dust with flour, making sure to coat evenly. Tap out excess flour.
• In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, melt chocolate with 1/4 cup water. Add butter a little at a time, stirring until mixture is smooth.
• In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until thick and light. Stir in melted chocolate mixture. Add flour, almonds, raisins, and whisky. Stir to combine.
• Beat egg whites with salt until stiff, glossy peaks form. Stir one-third of egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gently but thoroughly fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into pan, and smooth top. Bake until just beginning to pull away from sides of pan (the center should remain moist), about 45-50 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
• Place cake on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Gently pour ganache on top of the cake letting it drip down the sides as pictured.
While the cake is baking make the ganache:
• Using a food processor, grind the chocolate into a fine powder. Remove and place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in saucepan over medium heat until just about bubbling. Watch carefully as you do not want it to scorch or boil over. Imediatley pour hot cream over chocolate. Let sit undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Carefully and slowly stir mixture until smooth. Let cool. You will have extra ganache. Store leftover in the fridge for a few days and re-heat to use over ice-cream. Or, chill, scoop into balls and roll in cocoa powder for truffles.
Tips for success:
• Make sure your bundt pan is generously greased. Use a baking spray for even coverage. Even a non-stick pan needs to be greased. Having your cake stick to the pan is painful and tear inducing. We don't want that!
• The un-iced cake can be made ahead of time. In fact, it improves with age. Keep it wrapped and refrigerated for up to four days. Bring to room temperature before icing.
• Do not over-beat or use a whisk to stir the ganache. This will form air bubbles and turn your smooth pourable ganache into a thick frosting. Good, but not right for this cake.
• Cut cake with a thin sharp knife that has been heated under hot running water and wiped dry.